Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 23, 2014

Major renovations at public library near completion

TAHLEQUAH — Patrons of the newly-renovated Tahlequah Public Library will probably notice a more open, airy space in which to broaden their intellectual horizons.

Thanks to a city bond issue, the library received $400,000 to construct new bathrooms, install carpeting, repaint the interior, renovate the railing between the first and second floors, and create handicapped-accessible entrances and ramps.

The major portion of the renovations are complete, and library staff are working tirelessly to add more amenities, like new shelving.

“The new shelves along the walls mean fewer rows of bookshelves out in the floor,” said Michelle Newton, youth services coordinator. “This gives us a lot more open space. Each floor of the library received new carpeting and paint, and we’ve built short walls between the main floor and the children’s library.”

Newton said cubbies will also be added to the walls of children’s library, creating even more space for kids to stretch out, relax and read.

On the main floor, the circulation desk has been moved across the room. A new circulation desk is being constructed by a local vendor and will be installed soon. Flat-screen monitors are hung throughout the main space, and are used to promote library programs and advertising for local businesses.

“All the railing on the staircase the second floor has been renovated,” said Newton. “They added extra poles and brought it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The teen area has been moved from the east side of the main floor to the west, and has a glass wall installed.

“This defines it more as its own space,” said Newton.

The former office area has been completely reconstructed, and a book sale room has been added. Those interested are encouraged to donate old books. Proceeds from the sales defray costs of library programs, like the ever-popular summer children’s programs.

“Anyone can donate, but we ask they don’t drop off encyclopedias, textbooks or Readers Digest condensed books,” said Newton.

In the back, a staff break room and dedicated restrooms have been installed.

“This is the first time, ever, we’ve had a staff break room,” said Newton. “It’s so nice to have a place to eat lunch.”

In the lobby, new tile – colored to match a new painting hung above the main entrance – has been installed.

“The lobby is much more welcoming,” said Newton. “We have handicapped access automatic doors on the front and back now, a wheelchair ramp running into the Carnegie Room, and new bathrooms with infant changing stations. The new bathrooms are just that: completely new. This area used to be outside in the loading zone.”

tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

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